Home » About Us » Our Divisions » Policy Division

Policy Division

The Policy Division of Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) uses the Institute’s research, implementation, and technical assistance capacities to inform and support policymakers. It is imperative that we promote effective service systems to achieve optimal child development, family, and community outcomes through research-informed policies. Our policy division is committed to closing the research to practice gap, achieving broader population benefits, and equipping policymakers with research-supported evidence. FPG has a strong history of achieving results through contributing to the development of policies, programs, and initiatives for young children at federal, state, and local levels.

Featured People

Denni Fishbein, PhD

Diana 'Denni' Fishbein, PhD
Director of Translational Neuro-Prevention Research

Dr. Fishbein’s studies use transdisciplinary methods and a developmental approach to understanding interactions between neurobiological processes and environmental factors. Her research supports the premise that underlying neurobiological mechanisms interact with the quality of our psychosocial experiences and environmental contexts to alter trajectories either toward or away from risk behaviors.

Sherika Hill smiling at camera

Sherika Hill, PhD
Research and Policy Liaison

Dr. Hill's research seeks to understand how mental health conditions or high risk-taking behaviors in adolescence develop during childhood and impact outcomes later in adulthood. Moreover, she attempts to make connections on how public policy can positively affect child development trajectories, especially for vulnerable populations defined by low socioeconomic status, rural geography, minority race/ethnicity, chronic childhood health conditions, and, more recently, child maltreatment.

Key Activities

Key activities for the Policy Division include:

  • Enhancing FPG’s participation in various policy environments by leveraging our extensive subject matter expertise and experience. Examples include:
    • Assisting in literature reviews with collaborating partners to inform policy
    • Developing and delivering various educational presentations involving the full spectrum of child and adolescent development issues for policymakers’ consideration and use
    • Participating in task forces, work groups, ad hoc committees, and other policy-focused efforts to bring scientific expertise into the policymaking realm
    • Exploring databases to assist in answering relevant research questions or to directly link policy strategies and goals to specific data for evidence-based translation
    • Building effective relationships with policymakers that enable rapid responses for various requests involving policy development
  • Engaging in new policy research and translation, dissemination, and implementation activities to further advance evidence-based policymaking
  • Collaborating with public and private partners to leverage the capacities and resources necessary for evidence-informed policy decision-making at multiple levels

Recent Work

North Carolina Statewide Birth-5 Needs Assessment Final Report

As part of North Carolina’s Preschool Development Grant, a team of FPG early childhood researchers worked together to produce a comprehensive Birth to 5 Needs Assessment report designed to significantly inform strategic planning and capacity building relative to what North Carolina is currently doing to meet its children’s early childhood care and education needs.

Read the North Carolina Statewide Birth-5 Needs Assessment Final Report here.

Blueprint for a U.S. Firearms Data Infrastructure

Robin Jenkins, policy division lead and associate director of the Impact Center at FPG, participated on an expert panel, convened by NORC at the University of Chicago, to study the problem of firearm data infrastructure and how to improve it. The panel crafted policy recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels to significantly improve the firearm data infrastructure across the country.

Read the Firearms Data Infrastructure Blueprint here.

Policy Leadership

Robin Jenkins
Robin Jenkins

Robert (Robin) Jenkins, PhD, is a senior implementation specialist and lead of the Policy Division at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. His areas of expertise include implementation science, program evaluation, technical assistance, and public policy. Furthermore, Robin has extensive experience as a leader, advocate, and volunteer working in emotional and behavioral health, applied implementation activities, criminal/juvenile justice, substance abuse interventions, violence prevention, and child welfare. Learn more about Robin and his work in this Q&A.